Jibarra Opening in Downtown Raleigh This Week

Carne Asada

January, 03, 2009, by Jedidiah

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The long wait will finally come to an end this week and Jibarra in the Downtown Raleigh Depot will open its doors for lunch and dinner.

Jibarra is a fabulous Mexican restaurant owned by the same family that runs the many El Rodeo Restaurants around the area. It is not your quick stop Mexican, but has a more upscale menu. It can be paralleled with Dos Taquitos Centro, similar menu and pricing for lunch and dinner.

Jibarra was only open for dinner while located in North Raleigh, but when I spoke to owner Joel Ibarra’s father José on Friday, he stated that they feel as though they will have more of a lunch crowd in the new location and have decided to serve food both during the day and at night. Taking a look at the menu, the food looks very reasonable in price.

The interior of the new restaurant is set up with a similar floor plan as the sports bar that was in the location previously, with the bar in the middle and tables surrounding (and luckily without televisions and Coors Light banners hanging from the historic wooden beams). New hanging lights have been added and the walls have been painted (with what look like a blue sky and clouds). A bit more of a cozy feel than the previous tenant and a similar feel to the North Raleigh location. The decor isn’t fancy - they leave that for the food.

Jibarra hopes to open either Tuesday or Wednesday (Jan 6/7), after a handful of delays in the final months of 2008. They will not have their liquor license when they open, but should have it shortly after.

This makes two of the potential 4 spaces in the depot filled. The last two are currently set up for bars and/or restaurants, but I’m still hoping for some retail….so we’ll see what becomes of those spaces. Hopefully, Jibarra will be a catalyst for positive energy unlike the previous failures.

The Depot is empty during the day, as is most of the Warehouse District. But, with the addition of the Pit (who started serving lunch over a year ago and is packed daily) and now Jibarra, things will hopefully start to turn around for one of the neighborhoods in downtown Raleigh with the great potential.

Jibarra’s opening, along with the soon to open Boylan Bridge Brewpub and Foundation will all be fabulous additions to downtown Raleigh in the first few months of 2009. Beer and Tequila lovers rejoice!

Go here to view their lunch and dinner menus.

Mon – Thurs 5:00 – 10:00
Fri & Sat 5:00 – 11:00
Sun 5:00 – 9:00

Hours Coming Soon.


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Restaurants, Other posts by Jedidiah.


Downtown RaleighBeerBarsWarehouse DistrictBoylan Bridge BrewpubMexican


  • Dean McCord
    01/05 11:01 AM

    I’ve really been looking forward to Jibarra’s opening downtown.  Joel and I discussed the difficulties of the old location, and I really think this place will take off.  For what it’s worth, Jibarra was open for lunch in North Raleigh, as I ate there several times.  But because of its location, there was hardly any lunch crowd, so I’m hoping that will change.

  • Arthur!
    01/05 12:23 PM

    Hmmm. Seems alittle price/trendy. You might have to fight with the yuppies/drunks for parking space, too

    I think I will stick with El Rodeo in CityMarket.

  • Ryan
    01/05 01:17 PM

    Jibarra is a completely different experience than El Rodeo.  I love to order a pitcher of margaritas and the fajita quesadilla at El Rodeo just as much as the next guy.  If the prices and yuppies at Jibarra are a little much on a daily basis, reserve this culinary experience (try the tequila sampler, too!) for special occasions!

  • RaleighRob
    01/05 02:03 PM

    ^Agreed.  Comparing Jibarra to El Rodeo would be similar to comparing Duck & Dumpling to Wild Ginger.  I.e., completely different price categories. 

    Comparing Jibarra to Dos Taquitos Centro may be more appropriate.  The latter has a more affordable lunch menu than the former, but a much more expensive dinner menu.  Fortunately these two are on opposite ends of downtown so hopefully they can both thrive.

  • TSnow27604
    01/05 03:03 PM

    If pushed, I would name Jibarra as my favorite restaurant in Raleigh.  3 thumbs up.  It sounds weird but you’ve got to try the avocado ice cream with cilantro sponge cake and tomato marmalade.  Don’t knock it till you try it.

  • hueraleigh
    01/05 03:04 PM

    I say everyone call Jibarra and ask them to offer a lunch menu on Saturday and Sunday. The Warehouse District needs a restaurant to start this trend!

  • Jonathan
    01/05 04:54 PM

    Totally with you on that. 

    As somebody who lives downtown but unfortunately works in RTP, I can only eat lunch at many of the restaurants downtown on a holiday or if I am working from home.  Would love to be able to go on the weekend.

  • hueraleigh
    01/05 05:04 PM

    Yeah, we have The Flying Saucer and Humble Pie for Sunday brunch and that’s it. I have people stop by my sales office every weekend looking for a place for lunch. I want to support the Warehouse District but our choices are so limited. Do what I did and send jibarra an email asking them to consider offering lunch on the weekends!!

  • richardfoc
    01/05 05:08 PM

    The Holiday Inn Downtown (as an old skool Raleighite I just can’t call it The Clarion) serves Sunday brunch also.

  • hueraleigh
    01/05 05:16 PM

    Cool! That is good to know… Thanks for the feedback.

  • tjoad
    01/05 05:33 PM

    Jibarra has always had a fabulous Sunday Brunch and will continue to do it at the new location!  No Saturday lunch though.

  • yo
    01/05 06:13 PM

    tir na nog has a good brunch.  napper tandy’s used to have a brunch. it may still.  i’m sure there are others.  old school Holiday Inn brunch is decent and offers a view of the skyline.

  • 01/05 07:34 PM

    Don’t forget guys, POOLE’S has a GREAT Saturday brunch, and they’re open pretty late for a Saturday brunch.

  • Lisa Jeffries
    01/05 10:19 PM

    “I say everyone call Jibarra and ask them to offer a lunch menu on Saturday and Sunday. The Warehouse District needs a restaurant to start this trend!”


    I would love to snatch up one of those remaining spots and turn it into downtown retail… or if nothing else… my new office. (But free rent is hard to beat at dad’s place!)

    If anyone’s got some extra money burning a hole in the pocket, let’s open up some retail!

  • Ashton
    01/06 05:51 PM

    I do love Saturday brunch.  Thanks Poole’s.

    I heard earlier that for the first few weeks it will only be lunch and brunch.  After the liquor license is figured out he will start serving dinner.

  • tjoad
    01/06 07:46 PM

    According to their website Jibarra will be open tomorrow (Wednesday) at 11:30!

  • Johnny
    01/09 03:16 AM

    I at there today, and I thought it was pretty good. I think I’ll wait to go back until they are open for dinner. I don’t work in downtown Raleigh, so it seems like a better dinner option for me.

    The signage could use some help, I knew where it was, but it was still a little hard to find

  • Tom from Raleigh
    01/27 01:50 PM

    This is my first post here, so here goes:

    We went to Jibarra last night (1/24) for an early dinner. Bottom line is it was extremely good, and possibly better, though a bit different, than when they were in N. Raleigh. Overall, the menu has more of a small plate focus than before with lower prices to match.

    They brought out an amuse which looked like a shot of hot chocolate with whipped cream on top. It was actually a white bean puree with a chili like bean mixture underneath. IMO, that exactly what an amuse should be - whimsical.

    We ordered some guac and queso fundido, two go to dishes from the old location. Bothh were just as remembered that is to say excellent. The guac was very fresh tasting and clean. The queso fundido was had three topping on separate portions of the cheese, poblano peppers, some kind of pork, and mushrooms. Tasty, just like I remember.

    Next we ordered three more appetizers: Carnitas, Cochinia Pibil and Salmon Cebiche. The Carnitas was the only dish that I thought was poorly executed, as it was baby back ribs cooked confit style. I just thought a different cut of pork would have provided more meat, but that’s really a quibble. Cochinita Pibil is one of my favorite dishes in Mexican cuisine. It’s akin to Carolina BBQ and served with a habanero sauce and pickled red onions. Very tasty indeed. The Salmon cebiche was smoked salmon served in a round on a layer of avocado with some onion. Again, very tasty.

    We ordered two entrees for the table to split: Carne Asada tacos and beef cheek tacos. They didn’t come out as pre-prepared tacos, but the dish of “food” with tortillas on the side. The carne asada had a mashed potato mixture mixed in. I thought that the meat was tasty, but the potatoes meant that the meat wasn’t crispy which is what I expect from carne asada. I wouldn’t order this dish again, but I recognize that it may be included to serve as a dish for an un-adventurous diner. The beef cheek was braised and served on top of a bit of phyllo with some chopped onion and a bit of cilantro on the side. The cheek was excellent and among the best of the night.

    For dessert, we took the recommendation of the waiter and we were well served. It was a Butter-cream bread custard with mildly sweet zest-pulp marmalade and a rustic chocolate-clove-cinnamon ice cream (from their website). This was a wonderful dish. It was gooey and sticky, with a very nice interplay between the flavors.

    As far as drinks, my wife had a mango chipotle margarita. This was very nice with fruit flavor up front and a nice rising spiciness on the late flavor. Overall, great, not too sweet.

    Service was very welcoming. The staff thanked us for coming several times. Our waiter was a bit shaky at times, likely due to inexperience and possibly nerves, but this was easily overlooked based on his sincere effort. With such a recent opening, I would be inclined to forgive sub-standard service and the service at Jibarra was above expectations.

    We got out of there for $99.90 before tip. We felt it was an excellent value for an evening out with our two kids. This is in contrast to Zely and Ritz where we had a lot less food for $125. We’re glad to have another reason to go downtown. I hope Jibarra does well in their new location.

  • Lisa Jeffries
    01/27 11:29 PM

    Now THAT is a quality review!

    Thanks, Tom!

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